Ron Rosenbaum

Oh, the Stupidity...Stop the Folly of "Freedom Tower"

A couple of years ago when i was writing for The New York Observer I wrote several columns attacking the folly of “Freedom Tower’ the grandiose idiotic attempt to “memorialize” The World Trade Center’s Twin Towers by building a 1,776 foot high office tower that would instantly become a terrorist magnet, paint a target on all the unfortunate workers and service employees forced by foolish employers to work there.

My feeling about the folly was re enforced when the preliminary plans for the Titanic office tower’s security were criticized by New York City’s Police Department and a new set of plans focussing on “bollards” fire hydrant-sized posts that would presumably foil truck bombers and dubious high tech identity checks like “iris screening” were advanced to give everyone a feeling of security. (Not).

The whole idea was misguided from the start I’d argued. it was not going to be a terrible psychic blow to Osama Bin Laden to see another perfect target rise in place of the Twin Towers. Quite the opposite. It’s not like “the terrorists would win” if we didn’t build it. They’d win if we did, because we’d have to turn all lower Manhattan into a high tech prison to protect it and it would still be vulnerable, and besides, the point was not to memorialize a building (unless you were a greedy real estate developer who’d been awarded billions for that purpose alone). The point was to memorialize the people who were murdered at Ground Zero, not to make some moronic triumphalist self defeating gesture.

I’d always felt that the best memorial for the 9/11 attack was to leave the gaping hole in Ground Zero as the only memorial, the raw earth speaking far more eloquently than any over-praised architect could, of the kind of wound it was. Having just come back from a trip to Hiroshima I was even more aware of the danger of memorializing that served to cover up the horror it supposedly paid tribute to.

But blowhard politicians, opportunistic insurance-funded real estate developers, obscenely vain celebrity architects, and sycophantic reporters (the Esquire series) took no notice of the daily horror of imprisonment “Freedom Tower” would entail for the workers within.

Oh no, the promoters and p.r. men and the gullible writers who sought to lionize them said, it will be a noble work, show the terrorists we have no fear. and won’t be onerous at all for the public who wanted to live, work and visit lower Manhattan.

Well now New York’s Daily News has published some leaked details of the newest security plansfor Freedom Tower that would be laughably pathetic if they weren’t taken seriously by those who made them.

I had compared the original revised security plans to a high tech prison. This new plan will turn all lower Manhattan into Gitmo. Talk about irony. Talk about “letting the terrorists win”. Stop the madness!